Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher earned a nickname during the cold war. Her nickname was The Iron Lady. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, she was a tough willed woman who knew what it took to govern.

Here in Alachua County, we have our own Iron Lady. She is one of the most respectful people that I know. She cares about doing her city’s business in an orderly fashion, and about respecting the rights of the citizens in the face of those that would disrupt and create chaos.

That lady is Alachua’s Mayor, Jean Calderwood.

At the Monday, June 19th meeting of the Alachua City Commission, Charlie Grapski inappropriately called for a parliamentary inquiry and then a point of order. It was inappropriate because Charlie Grapski is not a member of the commission. The time for citizen comment is during the citizen comment time. The City of Alachua has two of those. One near the front of the commission meeting and one at the end.

No, the rules don’t apply to Charlie Grapski. Other citizens wait – Mr. Grapski stands up and shouts. In fact, he was shouting so loud that he never heard the Mayor ask the Chief of Police to dis-invite him from the meeting. On blog postings during the last two days, Mr. Grapski insisted that the Mayor never asked to have him arrested or removed from the meeting. The video tells a different story. They Mayor didn’t ask to have him arrested, but she certainly asked for him to leave the meeting.

Once again, Mr. Grapski only proves that he believes that he knows what is best, and that his ends, justify his means as he shows his utter contempt for the rights of others.

The video of this embarrassing scene is available at http://www.alachuatoday.com.




Posted by SJ

96 Comments:

At Wed Jun 21, 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Ward Scott said...

Thank you SJ. Jean Calderwood is truly the City of Alachua's "Iron Lady." Mayor Calderwood is polite, decisive, loyal, and visionary. Mayor Calderwood is a true patriot of the community.

 
At Thu Jun 22, 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Mildred said...

Thank goodness for principled leaders like Mayor Calderwood. Keep up the good work, Jean.

 
At Thu Jun 22, 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Actually, if the "Iron Lady" would learn the LAW and actually knew the rules and procedures of the City of Alachua - this would not have happened.

1) Florida Statute 286.011 prohibits the City from passing substantive and/or controversial matters.

(1) All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, AT WHICH OFFICIAL ACTS ARE TO BE TAKEN are declared to be public meetings upon to the public at all times, AND NO RESOLUTION, RULE, OR FORMAL ACTION SHALL BE CONSIDERED BINDING EXCEPT AS TAKEN OR MADE AT SUCH MEETING.

The Alachua City Commission, led by Jean Calderwood, is KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY violating this law by having Clovis Watson meet individual - OUTSIDE THE SUNSHINE - with each commissioner and discuss policies and legislation and to obtain their "consent" - and thus to ENACT these without having a full public hearing in the Sunshine.

That is a violation of the law - which according to 286.011 (3)(a) Any public officer who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a noncriminal infraction, punishable by any citizen of this state. And (b) Any person who is a member of a board or a commission or of any state agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision WHO KNOWINGLY VIOLATES the provisions of this section by attending a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions herof is GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR OF THE SECOND DEGREE, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

I will be seeking legal action to bring the City into compliance with this law - and to have the criminal misdemeanor charges brought against the Mayor and Clovis Watson (and perhaps each of the other commissioners).

This is from the Attorney General's Sunshine Manual:

The Sunshine Law extends to the discussions and deliberations as well as the formal action taken by a public board or commission. There is no requirement that a quorum be present for a meeting of members of a public board or commission to be subject to s. 286.011, F.S. Instead, the law is applicable to any gathering, whether formal or casual, of two or more members of the same board or commission to discuss some matter on which foreseeable action will be taken by the public board or commission. Hough v. Stembridge, 278 So. 2d 288 (Fla. 3d DCA 1973). And see, City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 So. 2d 38 (Fla. 1971); Board of Public Instruction of Broward County v. Doran, 224 So. 2d 693 (Fla. 1969); and Wolfson v. State, 344 So. 2d 611 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977). Thus, discussions between two members of a three-member complaint review board regarding their selection of the third member of the board must be conducted in accordance with the Sunshine Law. AGO 93-79. Cf., AGO 04-58 ("coincidental unscheduled meeting of two or more county commissioners to discuss emergency issues with staff" during a declared state of emergency is not subject to s. 286.011 if the issues do not require action by the county commission).

It is the how and the why officials decided to so act which interests the public, not merely the final decision. Thus, the court recognized in Times Publishing Company v. Williams, 222 So. 2d 470, 473 (Fla. 2d DCA 1969), disapproved in part on other grounds, Neu v. Miami Herald Publishing Company, 462 So. 2d 821 (Fla. 1985):


Every thought, as well as every affirmative act, of a public official as it relates to and is within the scope of his official duties, is a matter of public concern; and it is the entire decision-making process that the legislature intended to affect by the enactment of the statute before us.

ANd this addresses the activities of CLovis going as a "liason" to obtain the consent outside of the sunshine:

e. Use of nonmembers as liaisons between board members

The Sunshine Law is applicable to meetings between a board member and an individual who is not a member of the board when that individual is being used as a liaison between, or to conduct a de facto meeting of, board members. See, AGO 74-47 (city manager is not a member of the city council and thus, may meet with individual council members; however, the manager may not act as a liaison for board members by circulating information and thoughts of individual council members). Compare, AGO 89-39 (aides to county commissioners would not be subject to the Sunshine Law unless they have been delegated decision-making functions outside of the ambit of normal staff functions, are acting as liaisons between board members, or are acting in place of the board or its members at their direction).

For example, in Blackford v. School Board of Orange County, 375 So. 2d 578 (Fla. 5th DCA 1979), the court held that a series of scheduled successive meetings between the school superintendent and individual members of the school board were subject to the Sunshine Law. While normally meetings between the school superintendent and an individual school board member would not be subject to s. 286.011, F.S., these meetings were held in "rapid-fire succession" in order to avoid a public airing of a controversial redistricting problem. They amounted to a de facto meeting of the school board in violation of s. 286.011, F.S.

Similarly, in Sentinel Communications Company v. School Board of Osceola County, No. CI92-0045 (Fla. 9th Cir. Ct. April 3, 1992), the court found that a series of private meetings between a school superintendent and individual school board members which were scheduled by the superintendent to present and consider staff recommendations concerning the administrative structure of the school system and to privately address any objections or concerns that the board might have, should have been held in the sunshine. The court said that its decision should not be construed to prohibit individual board members from meeting privately with staff or the superintendent for informational purposes or on an ad hoc basis. However, "[i]t shall be construed to prohibit the scheduling of a series of such meetings which concern a specific agenda." Thus, the court enjoined the board and its superintendent "from holding any further closed door meetings to formulate Board policy, discuss matters where Board action is contemplated, or otherwise conduct the public's business."

In Citizens for a Better Royal Palm Beach, Inc. v. Village of Royal Palm Beach, No. CL 91-14417 AA (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct. May 14, 1992), the court invalidated a contract for the sale of municipal property when it determined that after the proposal to sell the property which had been discussed and approved at a public meeting collapsed, the city manager met individually with council members and from those discussions the property was sold to another group. The circuit court found that these meetings resulted in a substantial change in the terms of sale and that the execution of the contract, therefore, violated the Sunshine Law.

Thus, a city manager should refrain from asking each commissioner to state his or her position on a specific matter which will foreseeably be considered by the commission at a public meeting in order to provide the information to the members of the commission. AGO 89-23. See also, AGO 75-59 (the spirit, if not the letter, of the Sunshine Law requires official decisions to be made in public after a full discussion by the board members; thus, the board's director should refrain from calling each member of the board separately and asking each member to state his or her position on a matter which will foreseeably be presented for consideration to the entire board in open session). Cf., AGO 81-42 (the fact that a city council member has expressed his or her views or voting intent on an upcoming matter to a news reporter prior to the scheduled public meeting does not violate the Sunshine Law so long as the reporter is not being used by the member as an intermediary in order to circumvent the requirements of s. 286.011, F.S.).

Furthermore, Mildred, you and I differ on what a "principled leader" is. In my view a principled leader:

1) Knows the law and the rules: Calderwood clearly has not bothered to read either the law or the rules and procedures of the City.

2) Follow the law and the rules: Calderwood has refused to follow the rules - even when made aware of them in writing - and thus this constitutes, on her part at least, a KNOWING violation of the law - subject to CRIMINAL sanction.

Furthermore Roberts Rules of order have been ADOPTED as the procedure of the City Commission in their rules and procedures to establish what is the "orderly" way to conduct a meeting.

It is thus problematic to call what I did "disorderly" and "out of order."

What did I do?

I rose at the appropriate time - prior to the Agenda being approved (which comes before the City allows "citizen comments") - and raised a parliamentary motion under Roberts Rules of Order.

That is known as a "parliamentary inquiry".

This is what that is according to Roberts Rules 10th edition:

A Parliamentary Inquiry is a question directed to the presiding officer TO OBTAIN INFORMATION ON A MATTER OF PARLIAMENTARY LAW OR THE RULES OF THE ORGANIZATION BEARING ON THE BUSINESS AT HAND (and it is the DUTY of the presiding officer to answer such questions).

The question was put to the Mayor by me - in an orderly, respectful, and peaceable way: How does a member of the public (which is entitled to participate at ALL STAGES of the decision making process) address the City on an action which is about to take place in contravention of the rules and in violation of the law?

This is how you are supposed to do this - and when you are supposed to do it. (You cannot do it in Public Comment - because the action would have already been taken by the City that violated the rules/law.

Then this is further from Roberts Rules:

The Chair's reply to a parliamentary inquiry is not subject to an appeal, since it is an opinion not a ruling. A MEMBER HAS THE RIGHT TO ACT CONTRARY TO THIS OPINION, however ...

... and IF FRULED OUT OF ORDER, to appeal such a ruling.

You will hear on the video that I first rise and respectfully request a parliamentary inquiry.

When the Chair refuses to actually answer the question (and I asked for the Clerk to read the rule - and had a copy to provide him if he did not know it) - I addressed the mayor and asked for her to rule me out of order.

Why? So that I could follow the procedures as they are laid out - and rise in a POINT OF ORDER - which can then be subject to an appeal of the ruling of the chair.

From Roberts Rules:

A point of order takes precedence over any pending question out of which it may arise. It yields to all privileged motions and (if it adheres to pending questions ...) it yields to a motion to lay the main question on the table ... If a point of order which adheres to pending question(s) is raised while any one of the six lower-ranking subsidiary motions is immediate pending, NO OTHER SUBSIDIARY MOTION EXCEPT Lay on the Table can be made UNTIL THE POINT OF ORDER IS DISPOSED OF ...

A Point of Order Can be applied to ANY BREACH OF THE ASSEMBLY'S RULES.

A Point of Order IS IN ORDER when another has the floor, EVEN INTERRUPTING A PERSON SPEAKING OR READING A REPORT IF THE POINT GENUINELY REQUIRES ATTENTION AT SUCH A TIME.

Therefore I was FOLLOWING the Rules and your Iron Lady was BREAKING the rules AND the law.

 
At Thu Jun 22, 08:49:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Thu Jun 22, 08:59:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, as seems to be a common occurrence, you have missed the point on both of your arguments. You will never prove that Mr. Watson is going around discussing items on the consent agenda to get commissioner's approval to put them there because you can't prove a negative. Mr. Watson just doesn't do that, period. Staff prepares the agenda. Items that require public discussion like Resolutions and Ordinances are not placed there. The question about minutes is being researched. This is NOT a question of sunshine violations. Items are purely housekeeping items. Commissioners can pull items off the consent agenda if they have a question (since they haven't been approached by Mr. Watson or anyone else) or someone asks a commissioner to remove it. Your argument that the minutes of the Canvassing Board were the final action of the election is ridiculous.

As to your "out of order" behavior you were not following Roberts Rules. These rules apply to a legislative body. You are not a part of that body. You can't make motions and you can't vote therefore you are not a MEMBER. Your action was one of someone disrupting the meeting and fell into rules 12f and 12g. The Mayor was well within her rights as Presiding Officer to call you OUT OF ORDER.

Also Rule 10 says: "Robert's Rules of Order so long as they DO NOT CONFLICT with ordinances, statutes THESE RULES or the City of Alachua Charter, are the rules of the Commission". Robert's Rules are secondary to the Rules and Proceedures of the Commission. Once again the Mayor WAS following the rules as she swore to uphold. You, on the other hand, were not following the rules and she had you removed for your rude and uncivil behavior. You were, as she stated, "depriving" the other citizens of their "rights".

 
At Thu Jun 22, 09:06:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

I have posted a response to your post, Hugh, over at the ALA site asking about the definition of a "member" - so I won't bother posting it here.

As for your other statements - you are simply not correct.

By the way - why have you not announced that your motion to dismiss was denied on the lawsuit?

 
At Fri Jun 23, 06:07:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I suggest that you go to the Senate chamber in Washington and shout out from the gallery, "point of order" and find out where that gets you.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 10:56:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

The Senate Chamber in Washington DC does not have the same rules and procedures as the City of Alachua.

Indeed that is what is significant about Florida. It has the Sunshine Law. Adopted BY THE PEOPLE against the wishes of elected officials - as TOOLS (and weapons) whereby they are to be able to participate in the public process and to hold those officials to account.

Hugh, you and I have a different conception of government - and this is clear.

I believe that the people rule through elected officials. You believe once elected - officials are the rulers.

I believe that the only legitimate end of government is the common good. You believe that whoever has the majority of power is entitled to use that power as they see fit.

Its a very real disagreement. And it is one that we, as a nation, must engage openly in.

It is a struggle as to what are the actual founding principles of this nation - and whether we still respect and cherish those.

Charlie

 
At Fri Jun 23, 01:06:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Once again you have no concept of what I believe so stop trying. The sunshine rules have nothing to do with the whether you can stand up and disrupt a commission meeting just as you can not disrupt the Senate in session. It is you that fail to see the similarities.

The elected officials serve at the will of the majority. They can be turned out if the voters wish. Your conspiracy theories are just that, theories. We have the greatest form of government in the history of the world. It has managed to survive before you were born and will continue after you are gone. Get over it.

You claim to stand for the people and democracy. The Democrats mantra is "every vote should count". Yet you want to disenfranchize 107 voters for your "vision" of what is right and wrong. How does that fit your core values? How will the courts feel about your attempts to disenfranchize these voters? Whose vote would change if there was another election? You have a mioptic vision of the real world.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 01:29:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Hugh,

I am trying as hard as I can to have people discuss issues honestly and rationally. If you do not want to do that - that is fine. But I do not want to continue to exchange barbs with you.

I have stated that there is no analogy to the City of Alachua Commission and the US Senate. In practice there is. In law there is not.

Your wife seems to assume your position argued here. But that is not Florida's law.

In the United States Senate - you show me when you can EVER address the Senate as a citizen.

In the State of Florida, there is a law that REQUIRES that a Citizen has speaking privileges on the floor of municipal legislative bodies.

That entitles them to all of the rules and privileges of a speaker - to ensure that their rights as such are maintained.

The rules of order are NOT for the public to be kept in order by the officials. They are there to direct the chair as to the proper way to conduct the meeting for all members entitled to participate in the process to be heard fairly and within the limits of their particular roles.

Citizens do have the right to demand that the City follow the rules. Rule 10 establishes that the City must follow Roberts Rules of Order. Roberts Rules of order do not conflict with the rule about orderly conduct. They are the definition of orderly conduct in those meetings.

A citizen with a RIGHT to speak on ALL matters of legislation before the city - therefore has a PARLIAMENTARY right under the rules to assert that right.

When that right is about to be denied by the City violating its procedures and the law - the procedures provide for the Citizen to make a parliamentary motion to address that.

You see this all the time in the City Commission of Gainesville and the Alachua County Commission. I have raised numbers parliamentary points in both of those forums - and have seen other citizens do the same - the only difference is there the officials RESPECTED the rules and the rights of the citizens - and HEARD what they had to say - and ADDRESSED the points - rather than shouting them down, ignoring them, and having them removed from the chambers.

Now if we can move on from the back and forth barbs - and actually have the kind of rational discourse that Clovis Watson called for yesterday in my conversation with him and Stafford Jones and Mr. Goston - we will have accomplished something.

You do not have to personally engage in this. But hopefully others will.

Charlie

 
At Fri Jun 23, 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Our commission follow their rules and proceedures. There is always public input when called for. There is public input at both the beginning and end. You could have waited and approached the dias at that time but you chose to interrupt when you did.

I thought we were having a discussion. I resent that you think that you know how I think. I expressed that feeling. Sorry if you didn't like what I had to say. It's called communicating feelings.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 02:15:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Florida Law requires, as I have posted that law here, that citizens have input at ALL STAGES of the legislative process.

The Alachua Rules and Procedures DO NOT prohibit this - nor restrict public input to only the two times for citizen comment.

Because the rules allow for a Consent Agenda to be adopted BEFORE citizen comment - citizens have a right that cannot be denied PROCEDURALLY (and the rules and procedures do not require - as your wife seems to believe - that Citizens cannot speak or make a motion OUTSIDE of Citizens comments) DENIED to them by placing Citizens Comments AFTER this action has been taken - thereby effectively denying them that right.

This is the law and how it is meant to be followed. Its as simple as that.

And the law PROHIBITS - I reiterate - PROHIBITS the use of Consent Agendas to pass SUBSTANTIVE legislation without affording the public its RIGHT to be present at all stages, to hear the WHY of what is happening, and to have INPUT into that process.

Your view of the procedures DENIES that right. Rights trump procedures - even if the procedure was how you say. BUt the procedures, properly understood, are not as you say.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I didn't say that the only time the public can speak is during citizen comments. There isn't "substantive" matters on the consent agenda. I will wait to hear from the city attorney concerning minutes. I trust her interpretation of the law. Consent agenda information is available to the public before commission meetings. If you have a concern you can contact (sorry, you are not allowed to contact commissioners by order of the judge) or have someone else contact a commissioner to have it pulled from the consent agenda.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Catreona said...

To an outsider, it looks very much as though Mr. Grapski has a thorough knowledge of Florida law and Robert's Rules, whereas his opponents do not.

However, be that as it may, the facts as set out by Mr. Grapski seem clear enough. He has been attempting to exercise his rights as a citizen, rights granted him not only by Florida law but also by the U.S. Constitution. At every possible oppertunity, the city of Alachua, as represented by its employees and officials, has attempted, not only to prevent him from exercising his Constitutionally granted and protected rights, but to frame him as disruptive and a lawbreaker.

I freely admit that I have never visited Alachua, Florida, and that I have no firsthand knowledge of its inner machinations. I do, however, know Mr. Grapski (and count myself fortunate to do so). I know him to be an honest, patriotic, well-informed man, whose actions with regard to Alachua are totally disinterested and unselfish. He has endured slander and rough treatment, not for personal agrandizement, but in the interests of justice, the rule of law, and democracy.

I am one of many outside Alachua and outside Florida keeping a close eye on Mr. Grapski's attempts to bring openness to Alachua. I can assure Mr. Calderwood and all those defending the entrenched powers of Alachua, who feel threatened by Mr. Grapski's actions, that he does not stand alone. Not only does he have right, justice and law on his side, he also has many friends and supporters.

The people of Alachua need to know that they, too, have wellwishers and supporters all over the nation. Alachua cannot intimodate its citizens. Alachua does not opperate outside the U.S. Constitution. And, ultimately, the city officials of Alachua are answerable to the people of Alachua. In Mr. Grapski, they have a formitable champion.

Kerry Elizabeth Thompson
Springfield, Massachusetts

Disabled Americans for Democracy

 
At Fri Jun 23, 03:22:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Actually, Hugh, you are incorrect.

I am under no restriction, whatsoever, to have contact with Commissioners by order of any judge.

I may contact commissioners and attend commission meetings as can any member of the public.

I have also not been charged with any crime.

Now that we can move off of your strategy of disinformation and return to the issues of fact and law:

You are incorrect.

First, when I first came to Alachua, the consent agenda items WERE NOT available to the public BEFORE the meeting, or online, or AT the meeting.

All that was referred to were the TITLES of items.

Secondly, although they are NOW (as a result of my actions) available online (by the way - I have Alan Henderson's email, as Deputy Clerk, stating that he would not provide me items on the Consent Agenda until AFTER they were adopted by the Commission) - this is not sufficient legally.

You are incorrect that substantive matters of legislation are not being passed by the City on the Consent Agenda.

I intend on addressing every single item that has been improperly passed as far back as the statute of limitations goes - and to have that declared null and void as the law requires. They can then be brought back up under the proper laws and procedures.

The issue of minutes is MINOR compared to the above - because there have been POLICIES ENACTED and ALLOCATIONS OF MONEY (a lot of it) via the consent agenda and thus in defiance of 286.011 - FLorida's Open Government law.

But even minutes - which are the only ones the rules and procedures IMPROPERLY instruct to be placed on the consent agenda (None of these other items is REQUIRED to be there) - are not validly adopted in this process.

Its not a grey area, Hugh. It is the plain language of the law - and it is clearly upheld in all legal decisions on this and in the Attorney General's opinions.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, what are your thoughts on disenfranchizing 107 voters by your attempt to over turn the election?

 
At Fri Jun 23, 04:00:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

My thoughts are that you are not very good at "spinning" truth into disinformation.

I have no desire to disenfranchise 107 voters.

Indeed the City disenfranchised all 107 of the absentee voters - as well as all 600+ voters - in denying them a free and fair election.

We don't know what the outcome of a free and fair election would have been - since there was none.

We are not seeking to disenfranchise anyone - and we have specifically asked for A NEW ELECTION.

That denies no one there rights - whereas the rights of all have already been denied.

Indeed one of those 107 voters you claim are being disenfranchised - is among the PLAINTIFFS in this lawsuit. So - is he attempting to disenfranchise himself?

Again, the real issue about "mudslinging" and "personal attacks" lies, ultimately, in what you have taken on as a hobby: the game of electioneering based politics - whereby you "win" by making everyone else who opposes you "lose" - using any tactic that works. I despise that approach and concept of politics - and am committed to rooting it out of American life.

When you try and "frame" facts in such a way that it DISTORTS reality - you are engaged in an "untruth."

The truth of the lawsuit is that it seeks to UPHOLD the right to vote for ALL (regardless of who they choose or chose to vote for). The truth about the election is that it was conducted in an IMPROPER and INVALID way.

The truth about the 107 votes - is that we have no idea of how those voters ACTUALLY voted and whether their voice was ACCURATELY recorded.

This was not the fault of the voters themselves - but of those conducting the elections.

This is also why the rules and laws are established as they are - to prevent such problems.


Charlie

 
At Fri Jun 23, 04:26:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

The City's Rules and Procedures are now online for all to read at the Alachua Project.

The link is:

http://freealachua.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=18

Please note that RULE 10 establishes how a meeting is to be conducted and considered "orderly."

Relying in good faith on these rules is not acting "disorderly" in a manner in which would bring into effect Rule 12 sections (f) and (g) - since such actions are WITHIN the scope of Rule 10 and Rule 16 does not trump either Rule 10 or Florida Statutes 286.011 or the Constitutional provision of "Sunshine" and Open Government established by the people over the objections of elected officials.

Please note that according to the Rules and Procedures, Rule 11, the CLERK (one of the roles that Clovis Watson has) is to be the Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian is OBLIGATED to "advise" the Presiding Officer as to the correct rules of procedure or questions of specific rule application. The parliamentarian calls to attentino of the Presiding Officer any error in the proceedings that may affect the substantive rights of any member, or may otherwise do harm."

And yes - "member" here would include, under Florida's Constitution, a "member" of the public - who has substantive rights in the legislative process of municipalities.

Also note that Rule 9 - establishing the presiding officer - section (f) requires that the Chair (the Mayor in this case):

"Remain objective, consistent with Robert's Rules of Order."

Also note that under Rule 34 there is a provision for Citizen Comments (other than the regularly agendized sections at the beginning and end of meetings), but more importantly "suggestions, complaints" - and establishes that the Commission has a duty to act on these in a particular manner.

No where in the rules does it require items to be placed on the Consent Agenda. No where in the rules does it restrict the use of Roberts Rules to only "voting" members.

Quite the contrary.

Charlie

 
At Fri Jun 23, 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, why didn't you pledge allegence to the flag on Monday night?

 
At Fri Jun 23, 07:44:00 PM, Blogger Catreona said...

Mr. Calderwood,

Many fine, upstanding Americans do not feel comfortable saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Some are made uncomfortable by the phrase "under God." Some feel that the Pledge comes perilously close to Idolatry.

I do not know Mr. Grapski's views on this subject. However, if he or any other citizen exercises the right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, this choice does *not* indicate a lack of patriotism. I trust that your question does not imply any such lack on Mr. Grapski's part.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 07:56:00 PM, Blogger ShadowTeaTimeTim in Ohio said...

Hugh Calderwood said...

Fri Jun 23, 07:21:06 PM

When I see this kind of attack I know a person has nothing on the subject at hand.

I find it interesting Mr. Calderwood that you would not defend yourself with law? If your rules and procedures adopted Roberts Rules of Order then you must follow them. And when the rules are in question you must refer to them. Not the spirit of the rules, but the rules themselves.

Clearly Charlie consulted the rules, took you to task with goal of bringing to the public public informaiton, and you failed to follow your own laws in addressing the issue. I'm quite sure your attorney is going to say "You screw the pooch on that one", and then try to come up with a creative way to get you out of the mess.

You might want to rethink your strategy.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 08:16:00 PM, Blogger donna in evanston said...

Despite Mr. Calderwood's opinion, the law is important. Election law is clear and are Roberts Rules of Order.

Bullying and machinations to not trump the law. Charlie Grapski is shouting because he must be heard above the cronyism and corruption that seems to prevail in Alachua.

Now wonder Florida elections are under scrutiny all over the world.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, I predict that when the courts are finished that they will not find any fraud in our election. Fraud-An intentional perversion of truth to induce another to part with some valuable thing belonging to him, or to surrender a legal right. The election will be upheld and the results will stand, all your rhetoric aside. I also expect you to keep your promise of a public apology.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Charlie I AM THE MAN said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Fri Jun 23, 11:01:00 PM, Blogger nordy said...

It's an old saying: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Charlie Grapski has been opening windows in Alachua County that some would like to keep closed. A lot of sunlight has been pouring in.

The brighter the light shines, the more people watch, and the greater the support for Charlie grows.

And that's the truth about the ALA.

Debby Norman
Seattle

 
At Fri Jun 23, 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Catreona, Hitchhikers Guide is one of my favorite movies, too.

Catreona, Donna and Teatimetim,

I have probably known Charlie longer than you guys. Charlie and I have debated for years. I know him, and I know his methods. I love him to death, but Charlie is driven by his ideology. If the situation were exactly reversed, Charlie would be arguing exactly the opposite.

286.011 doesn't really reflect what Charlie claims that it reflects. By Charlie's definition (city manager meets with commissioner = illegal) then you have to assume that the city manager is meeting with each commissioner. The City of Gainesville has a consent agenda, but Charlie has never challenged it. Why? Because Gainesville has a bunch of liberals on the commission.

The part that Charlie forgets is that the staff or the city manager aren't required to meet with each commissioner to put something on the consent agenda. Charlie assumes that consent is achieved beforehand. It isn't. As is with cities and other governing bodies all over the state, the manager or the staff can put stuff on the consent agenda without discussing it with the commission. Perhaps the commissioner reflected will at a previous meeting, or never expressed any will at all. Either way works. The commissioners are given the agenda ahead of time. If they intend to consent, they do nothing and pass it. If they don't like something, then in the city of Gainesville, Alachua or any other city in Florida, all it takes is one commissioner to remove an item from the consent agenda.

The city is doing nothing illegal with the consent agenda, and it is disingenuous for Charlie to attack Alachua, but not Gainesville, Alachua County or any other municipal government.

With regard to Roberts Rules, they were primarily intended for the members of a governing body, not the non-members. If a city, or my executive committee adopt Robert’s Rules (and we have) then that is for the members to use as a matter of procedure and decorum. Charlie cannot walk into my executive committee meeting and bark out questions, even if he thinks we are about to do something wrong. There are other recourses. He can change parties and become a member. He could then even run against me as chairman. Same with the city of Alachua. Charlie’s recourse is an election. If he wants it done differently, vote out the people there and vote in new ones. That hasn’t worked, so he is resorting to a lawsuit.

At least the three of you understood one thing. You don’t know the machinations or the people of this county. You know only what Charlie has told you.

For instance, Charlie told you that I said that I was “out to get him.” Never happened. Not my style. Goon squad tactics are not me. Besides, I have known Charlie for years, and despite the fact that his politics are just messed up, I like the guy and have enjoyed many a good conversations with him.

Charlie leads you to believe that this is all some sort of Republican conspiracy thing. That certainly sounds good on a Howard Dean blog, but 4 of 5 Alachua commissioners are Democrats. Nearly every major elected office in Alachua County is Democrat. There are nearly twice as many Democrats as there are Republicans in this county. We are the underdogs. We are beginning to make progress in this county, but we Republicans have a long way to go to catch up to you Democrats.

Charlie believes what he is telling you, but that doesn’t make it any more true.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 05:27:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Gee Stafford, didn't you just make a (surprise! ... OK ... you planned to do this later, but thought you actually were winning a PR battle currently! So why not.) big show of "pulling in" two "prominent" Alachu-ans - after holding a rally attended primarily by Republicans and a City employees - which was originally supposed to be set up with Democrats and the NAACP in secret - Clovis Watson and Ward Scott.

What is also no surprise is that these two "roommates" have not exactly been distant from your circles while being Democrats.

Its a big sham and you know it. ANd I think everyone knows it - except you think you have pulled one over our eyes!

And I am the one over at the Dean blog CREATING the idea that the Republican Party of Alachua County is knee deep in this?

Its your chance Stafford - you are the chair. You are risking everything on this - not only for you, but for your party.

And you fail to recognize what you are actually getting yourself into. Don't say I did not warn you and the Republican party.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, Stafford has posted that the consent agenda is used by other governmental bodies and you have not attacked them. Also both he and I have said that the consent agenda is prepared by staff without approval of commissioners prior to publication. What proof do you have that Mr. Watson is acting as a go-between the commissioners in preparing the agenda? When can we expect a response from you?

 
At Sat Jun 24, 12:23:00 PM, Blogger listener said...

What I really don't understand is why ANY town would not want a citizen to stand up and say what they need to say. In my town they'd be delighted if citizens took more of an interest.

Of course, in my town here in Vermont, we use paper ballots and have a Democrat and a Republican work together counting each batch of votes. I know because I am a notary and help count the votes.

What could there possibly be to fear about having someone express a concern and state facts? While I tend to get impatient with Robert's Rules, I have seen ever so many instances in which having the Rules in place, and someone who has a working knowledge of them on hand, has greatly assisted clarity and agreement.

It feels to me as though officials in Alachua have made too much of a small thing. Something doesn't feel sincere in what they are presenting. It feels as though they are afraid, and that leads me to suspect they are hiding something.

In the interest of fairness, why not just let a person speak?

 
At Sat Jun 24, 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Shadow,

I would suggest that Charlie walk into a Gainesville City Commission meeting and start barking out questions there, while they are trying to pass the consent agenda.

Speaking is not the issue, but there is a specific time for it. Otherwise, every member of the public might shout out questions and comments at any moment. The commission business would not get done, and people might very well break out into arguments. Anarchy could ensue.

Meetings are structured so that they are orderly.

Charlie presumes that his concerns could bubble to the top because he thought he was trying to prevent the city from doing something illegal. First, he was wrong about that. Second, there are other remedies. Third, the city commission has already said that it will review its procedures with the consent agenda. Fourth, Charlie failed to tell you that his compatriot in these affairs, Green Party co-chair, Michael Canney, had an item removed from the consent agenda by emailing the Mayor and making a polite and well thought out case for why an item shouldn't be on it. So, she instructed the city manager to pull the item.

Now, which method do you think was more effective?

 
At Sat Jun 24, 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Catreona said...

Mr. Jones,

Thank you for your calm, measured replies to myself and other concerned Deaniacs. I am not necessarily going to change my mind on this matter; but, your presentation of the facts as you see them, without vitriol and insinuation, helps clarify the situation.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Catreona:

I hope that you enjoy the receipe I put on Howardempowered.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 06:33:00 PM, Blogger ShadowTeaTimeTim in Ohio said...

Stafford Jones said...

This is what is known as a strawman argument.

"
Speaking is not the issue, but there is a specific time for it. Otherwise, every member of the public might shout out questions and comments at any moment. The commission business would not get done, and people might very well break out into arguments. Anarchy could ensue."

Yes there is an appropriate time. Charlie raised the point of order at the appropriate time. So there is not chaos. So long as the rules are being followed, I'm quite certain that anarchy was not going to break lose. Apparently you City commission didn’t know how to address the issue and is already not happy with Mr. Graspski for bringing up an issue you would rather let lie in the matter of your City BOE. You allowed your beef with Mr. Graspski to cloud your judgment. In the end you folks come across as bullies. If there is one thing in America that is American it is standing up to bullies.

What Charlie did wasn’t something that hadn’t been done before. It’s actually common. And how a Chair of a city, county or township deal with the situation says volumes about there willingness to serve the people and not themselves. You folks had a golden opportunity to show that you could step up to plate, be fair and be responsible. You failed. Let’s face it, Charlie embarrassed you, so he was thrown out of the meeting.

Did you folks even have a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order with you?

Charlie’s concern with the consent agenda, if wrong, would have become self evident. Now it looks like you are hiding things. It does sound like Charlie has made changes because you are being more responsive in making items of public matter public. You are reviewing your procedures. But I believe you should always leave little doubt as to what you are doing in a timely fashion, that the public gets input before it occurs, and that you do absolutely everything you can to make your city government (all government) a transparent operation. I understand completely, that some things are tough to get done in a timely manner.


Tim Snell

 
At Sat Jun 24, 08:46:00 PM, Blogger listener said...

Tim Snell ~ well spoken! I especially appreciated your words:

"You allowed your beef with Mr. Graspski to cloud your judgment."

That is what it seems like to me, as well. I have seldom seen people become so jangled over something so simple. I'll be watching to see what happens with all of this. I hope they settle it well. There's a reporter up my way at the Burlington Free Press who is watching the story too. I imagine it's especially interesting because it's Florida, and we're all on edge about the next election ballot counting being accurate for a change.

I'll stay tuned.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 08:52:00 PM, Blogger Don, the Window Cleaner said...

I dropped in on a couple of Alachua City Commission meetings back in 2002 when I was a candidate for county office. This was back when there were two commissioners from the ALA, and they were using the Sunshine Laws then as a tool to slow down the meetings and wear people down. All they had was their own suspicions and no evidence to back it up. These meetings went on and on and aggravated the whole community. So I see a pattern here.

A couple of years ago I wanted to get on a county citizens advisory board. The only one that a regular working person could serve on at that time was Parks and Rec., and it met at 5:30 or 6pm. Some of the members there told me that they still knew nothing after serving for over a year because eveything had to be done "in the Sunshine" at that public meeting, which hardly a member of the public ever attended (unless they wanted something). This meant that a handful of professionals and activists with the time to give, or who attended on the clock (paid by GRU, the city, etc.) basically called all the shots. We were forbidden to consult with each other via email (which would have been helpful for the layman who wanted to know the ropes) because it was not "in the Sunshine".

I did a little research and found out that it would be legal for us to use an Internet message board that was advertised on the county website. These "virtual meetings", although we could conduct no votes, would be more public than anything they were currently doing. It would get more citizen input and give voting members a chance to be better briefed when it was time to vote. The pros did not like this and were afraid of too much input. The next meeting, they decided to go back to middle-of-the-day meetings permanently, thus getting rid of me.

I don't believe for a minute that the regular citizen cried out for these Sunshine Laws. They are for special interests and activists who can wear down the layman with paragraph after paragraph of legalese. And it is used very selectively, like Stafford said. They cry out for Sunshine when they want to stop jobs and buisness, but they create artifical light when they only want the semblance of democracy.

 
At Sat Jun 24, 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I posted this before. Mr. Grapski doesn't seem to be interested in this corruption of the Sunshine laws because it involves some of his friends in the ALA. Don, you are right. The ALA used accusations that they never could prove all the while doing their dirty business behind closed doors.

“I was referred to in another post as "miss perfect", never make a mistake. Yes I did make one big mistake while a commissioner. That was stooping to the GOB's way of governing while appointing Mr. Watson to the postion of city manager, especially the agenda removing the title of "interim" from his title. He campaigned relentlessly for that position. He showed up on my door step with candidate Kosman and her husband (editor’s note- Paul Rothseiden) to assure me that he could do the job that Jarboe could not. He was at my house numerous times during his "campaign". He was after his positon for some time. It was no surprise when Watson was appointed to the interim postion, that myself and 2 other commissioners knew it was going to happen all along. This was a real example of GOB back room dealings, and prearranged voting. What a disgusting way to do the public business. When the public stated that things were being rushed, they were right. When the public requested another professional study be done, at no cost: They were right. Watson promised things would be different, and he supported doing the right thing. I have regretted that action many times, and still do. For that, I owe the public an appology. Steam-rolling issues for "secret" interests is a slimey way to operate. I truely hope that the dirt will someday wear away from my hands. It felt wrong when it was happening, and it always will be”. Ex-Commissioner Tamara Robbins

 
At Sun Jun 25, 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

shadowteatimetim,

I am sorry, but you have missed the point entirely.

That was not a strawman. Charlie did not raise a point of order appropriately. Not being a member of the commission, there was no appropriateness for what he did. I won't keep repeating myself. Your argument is just incorrect as addressed in the posts above.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Having operated under Robert's Ruled of Order and having served as a parliamentarian in a few organizations, I can tell you that Charlie's interpretation is absolutely absurd. He is in no way a member of the commission regardless of the sunshine laws, and, therefore, has no standing to call for a parliamentary inquiry. As a citizen he could, at best, request an inquiry from the state's attorney general or bring a lawsuit hoping a judge would overturn the practice of the commission. But there is nothing he could do at the meeting regardless of his interpretation about the legality of the process. Period. End of story.

The fact that Charlie had to contrive a specific interpretation of statute to justify his actions - an interpretation that was never intended - should be proof enough of the inappropriateness of his interruption. No legislator would ever give the public speaking rights outside a pre-allotted time precisely due to the disrupting effect such a policy would have. However, the sunshine laws relate to legislation, but the meeting minutes, etc. are not legislative items and consequently do not fall under the scope of the sunshine laws.

The sad fact is that Charlie intellectually knows all this. I knew Charlie for 7 years as a fellow grad student in the polisci department at UF. Though I have graduated and move on, Charlie continues his anointed mission to save Alachua County from any semblance of economic growth and prosperity. He has admitted as much on other blogs. Charlie's recent "escorted exit" from the Alachua Commission meeting was pre-planned precisely to garner public attention. I am sad to say that those of you who have supported his interpretation of the sunshine statutes have fallen victim to his incessant legalese. He is a professional litigator who uses the system to stall the legislative process and sow the seeds of discontent in the electorate.

But Charlie getting thrown out and the prospect of Alachua corruption are mutually exclusive. If there really is corruption in Alachua, bring the evidence to the attorney general, and it will be investigated. A non-member asking for a point of order/inquiry, whether it's about the legality of the consent agenda or merely to recite the alphabet, is always out of order. It would be appropriate to discuss during the citizens' comments period. There was nothing to hide. Charlie simply used himself as the symbol to try to get people to "think" something was being hidden. He's playing on your ignorance of parliamentary procedure and law, and you should be upset with his duplicity and for being used.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave,

As a loyal member of the Alachua County Republican Party I can understand why you have come here to defend its actions.

However, as a fellow political scientist, you are incorrect about the laws of Florida and about Parliamentary Procedure.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood,

My objection is NOT with the USE OF the "Consent Agenda". As is clear from all of my posts and all of my statements publicly. It is clear that you should be able to recognize this.

My objection IS with the MIS-use of the "Consent Agenda."

There is a profound difference. I have no problem with municipalities USING a consent agenda appropriately.

I have a very real problem with the CIty of Alachua MIS-using the Consent Agenda to UNDERMINE Florida's Open Government law.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford,

First - I did not "bark out" anything at the Alachua City Commission. As the video actually shows - I rose, at the appropriate time, in the appropriate manner - and respectfully made a parliamentary inquiry.

Rather than respectfully dealing with that - the Mayor began banging the gavel and talking over me - and refusing to hear what I was saying - from the start.

At the same time - Alan Henderson, Clovis Watson, and Police Chief Jernigan had already planned to make a big deal out of capturing the police physically remove me from the meeting - and to use it as they are attempting to do so now (to deflect from the issue).

As for the City of Gainesville - I have risen in a similar fashion in Gainesville CIty Commission meetings, as have many others, and raised similar parliamentary points - on NUMEROUS occassions - and have always been treated with respect and have always had those points accepted and responded to - and the same goes for the Alachua County Commission meetings.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Don and Mr. Calderwood,

I do not turn a blind eye to violations of the law because of "my friends" as you try and imply.

This is indeed a straw man argument.

THe case at hand is what I am dealing with - not alleged PAST issues which I was not present to witness.

The case at hand involves the City of Alachua violating the laws of Florida and the United States in a blatant fashion and denying the rights of citizens:

1. They improperly conducted an election in such a way that the results are clearly not valid.

2. They violated, as city officials, the voting rights of citizens.

3. They have refused to comply with Florida's Public Records Law consistently and regularly.

4. They have refused to comply with Florida's Open Government Law consistently and regularly.

5. They have refused to comply with Florida's Ethics Law consistently and regularly.

6. They have refused to follow their own Rules and Procedures consistently and regularly.

I believe that there are TWO explanations for this pattern of behavior:

1) Incompetence. I believe most of the City's officials are UNFAMILIAR with their own rules and procedures and the Florida laws cited above.

2) Negligence. The City does not employ a proper parliamentarian or a proper City Attorney - and thus is not instructed as to what the procedures and the law require.

3) Malfeasance. Actors influential in City Government are happy to take such actions as they see fit - because they desire the outcomes they are achieving - and have no desire to follow the law - or to be made to follow the law.

My "tactics" may be unconventional. But they WORK. And they are the ONLY way to take a LAWLESS body operating under the color of law - in a context in which there are NO CHECKS whatsoever on political corruption (law enforcement and the courts tend to look upon this as a "political" matter to be decided by the voters - but then the issue is the very process whereby the voters decide such issues. When that is broken - how is it supposed to be fixed if those publicly charged with such duties fail to or refuse to act?) - and to FORCE them into compliance.

The City has already begun responding to me - reluctantly - and has changed some of its behaviors. But it is defiantly resisting truly following the law.

You don't seem to understand my actions - because you cannot understand someone who is not seekign a personal gain in their actions.

I seek the law to be followed - the rights of the citizens to be respected - and the public good to be the outcome of the process.

I will continue to fight - whatever it takes - to ensure this occurs in the City of Alachua and anywhere else that I can make this happen.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapksi has attended our meeting where he was not ejected. He knows that it is proceedure for citizens to approach the podium and state their name for the record when the public is legally permitted to speak. Mayor Calderwood had not yet placed a motion on the floor when the public can speak. For that reason alone he was out of order. His disruptive behavior also was cause for ejection according to the City's Rules and Proceedures. I believe ( and Mr. Grapski will correct me if wrong) Roberts Rules of Order are not legally required for legislative bodies. The fact that they adopt them is for the orderly conduct of meetings. Mr. Grapski correctly said that he could not speak out in the Senate gallery because they have a different set of proceedures. To use his argument about Roberts Rules, he should still be allowed to speak out in Washington since they also have adopted them to run their meetings.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood,

I will now correct you as you are wrong:

"Mr. Grapksi has attended our meeting where he was not ejected."

Correct. And I will place this online. At that meeting, after Gib Coerper made a motion to approve the agenda (which under the rules as set automatically approves - without a public hearing - all items on the consent agenda), and before the motion was seconded by James Lewis, which all came after Jean Calderwood stated the next item on the agenda was the approval of the agenda - I rose, under Roberts Rules of Order and the City's Rules and Procedures, and attempted to make a POINT OF ORDER.

The Mayor refused to HEAR what I had to say - and immediately began banging the gavel and speaking over me - and was threatening to have me removed.

After I was able to put ON RECORD what I had to say - even though the Mayor violated the Rules and Procedures - I sat down and waited till public comment to EXPLAIN what I was doing.

Two weeks later, at the next City Commission meeting, I again contacted the Mayor by email and stated they were going to violate the law through a misuse of the Consent Agenda - and asked for these items to be taken off. Unbeknown to you, Mr. Calderwood (who I believe is intimately tied to backroom planning of these very staged events), and to others I was scheduled to be elsewhere that night - and thus was not in attendance.

However, expecting me to attend - and expecting me once again to rise in a point of order - someone in the City contacted TV 20 to be there to film me being arrested for "disrupting" the City meeting. It was a staged event. But it didn't pan out - as I was not there.

Thus it is clear that the City and persons like yourself were very much "setting up" such an opportunity. You also THINK it is "under the rules" (or can be made to look like it) as your wife read, not the entire rules and procedures, but only that detailing what is to be done when someone is "disruptive."

What she has failed to comprehend or share with the public - is the rules about what is "orderly" and what is not. That is what I stood up this last time and asked her to read - and again she failed to do so.

"He knows that it is proceedure for citizens to approach the podium and state their name for the record when the public is legally permitted to speak. "

That is incorrect. That is the procedure to speak in the portion of the meeting dedicated to "Citizen Comment."

But you falsely claim that this is the ONLY time it is "in order" for a citizen to speak. You have the view of government that AUTHORITY rules - not the people rule. We disagree - fundamentally. I believe in democracy, you do not.

The City is not entitled, under Florida Law, to PRECLUDE citizens from commenting on substantive legislation BEFORE it is passed. Nor is the City entitled to pass legislation that the public was not invited to SEE and watch the DELIBERATIONS.

The City, in placing items on the Consent Agenda that are not legally entitled to be placed there, is attempting to appear to follow the rules AS A MEANS OF breaking the law.

This is not proper - and it was the City officials - and your wife - who was "disruptive" and "out of order." Just because there is no authority to enforce that law when public officials knowingly and willingly violate that law - does not mean the Citizens must be passive victims of those actions. Citizens have a RIGHT (fundamental - INALIENABLE - to stand up for those rights). And I will exercise that right whether you deem it appropriate or not.

"Mayor Calderwood had not yet placed a motion on the floor when the public can speak."

There is no such motion. This never happens. You clearly do not know Roberts Rules of Order. You may know how to spay a cat - but you do not know the law. Nor do you know the principles of democratic government.

The public can LEGALLY speak (and it is a RIGHT) before ANY substantive legislation is passed by the City. The City attempted - under the claimed auspices of the rules - to deny that right. Thus the public had a right - at that moment - to address the City as to that right.

"For that reason alone he was out of order."

Again untrue. As your premise is false - as there is no such motion to allow citizens to speak.

I was not out of order - as the Rules of Order PRESCRIBE the action I took.

"His disruptive behavior also was cause for ejection according to the City's Rules and Proceedures."

Again incorrect. My behavior was not "disruptive" - as is clear on the video of the meeting. I rose and made a Parliamentary Inquiry, peacefully and respectfully, and sincerely sought the City to follow the rules.

The CAUSE of my being ejected, however, was the INTENT to have me ejected - to have it on video - and to use it as a propaganda tactic.

You can even see Alan Henderson setting up the video before hand - as he switches the camera (not normally done) to get me in the frame and to set it up so the police would be in the frame.

You then see - while the Mayor is addressing me - the City Police Chief and another officer (why was he even there - if there was not already a plan to do this?) approaching the front of the room - never having been asked to do so by your wife. You then see Clovis Watson signal to the Police Chief - who then stands in front of me, and in direct defiance of the Mayor's own words, tells me he is going to arrest me, with one hand grabs his "cuffs" and the other attempts to grab my arms. At which point I RAISE my voice - in order for the Mayor to hear me - and reassert that she had NOT asked him to arrest me (she also did not ask him to physically have me removed) - and she responded that she indeed had not done this. This clearly irritated the Chief of Police.

Henderson even follows the action out of the room. Then he focuses the camera - also not normally done on Michael Canney. Why?

Then, at the 11 o'clock news (when the regular persons associated with the newscast have gone home) they slip the story and video into the broadcast - with the script as you provide it.

This was the set up (by the way Dave).

"I believe ( and Mr. Grapski will correct me if wrong) Roberts Rules of Order are not legally required for legislative bodies."

You are correct, Mr. Calderwood. They are not REQUIRED for legislative bodies. But, as they are adopted as Rule 10 of the Alachua City Commission, they ARE required of THIS legislative body. Thus in totality you are incorrect.

"The fact that they adopt them is for the orderly conduct of meetings."

They do adopt them - that is a fact - and they do indeed adopt them AS THE DEFINITION of "orderly conduct" (and thereby as the definitio nof "dis-orderly conduct").

But that is the point. They don't follow them.

And no - given your previous statement of not being required to adopt them - does not equate to not being required, once adopted, to follow them.

It is not an option - as you are attempting to imply.

"Mr. Grapski correctly said that he could not speak out in the Senate gallery because they have a different set of proceedures."

That is correct. The US Senate has a different set of procedures and operates under a different law. Thus there is no relevance to it as an analogy in this situation.

"To use his argument about Roberts Rules, he should still be allowed to speak out in Washington since they also have adopted them to run their meetings."

That is not correct. Because the US Senate does not have rules - or is not bound by laws - that give SPEAKING PRIVILEGES to "members" of the public.

Florida law does. And thus the "speaker" has all of the rights and privileges of such in the City of Alachua. And when those rights and privileges are being denied or abridged - it is Roberts Rules of Order that establish WHAT they are to do to address that.

I was ORDERLY (you are attempting to portray me as DIS-orderly - as a means to deflect from the real issue of lawlessness in City Hall).

I was PROPERLY and RESPECTFULLY addressing the Commission.

I would have sat down (as all knew - given my last attempt to have the rules followed when raising a point of information) when it was clear that I put my objection on record - and the Mayor ignored the law anyway.

The City was not looking for me to sit down after this - but to set up a "spin" through the use of video and the misuse of the rules.

You may think that this is a winning strategy. The problem is that you are not engaged with someone who plays your game. I am here to fight for democracy and the rights of the people. Simple. And I will continue to do so - no matter what you attempt. You can threaten to arrest me; you can manipulate public perception through PR/Marketing tactics - as has become the bain of American politics - and as such you are the SOURCE of the problem with politics and government in America. But I will not go away - until this matter is brought to a head - and the law is properly followed - and most importantly - the rights of the people are respected and recognized.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 01:21:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Charlie,

Given the history between you and the Alachua Commission, I would want video proof as well. Frankly, it serves both your spin purposes. Everyone can decide for himself the "truth" of what happened. It is no different than police cars having dash-mounted cameras; they know they're going to have a problem so they keep them running all the time. That's not a set-up, that's protecting one's posterior.

However, let me ask you a sincere question (but please do not give a 15 paragraph response). Your whole case is built on a unique interpretation of FL sunshine laws that gives you the "right" to participate as a "member" of the Alachua Commission. Do you honestly think the people who crafted the sunshine legislation had this in mind or is this just a fortuitous interpretation for you? Whether you were orderly or disorderly depends on the interpretation of the sunshine laws. It, frankly, is the only legal issue before us. Everything else follows.

You don't have to get into a theoretical discussion about the basis of participatory democracy to answer this question. It is legally immaterial. However, I would like to see your perspective on the intent of the sunshine laws in regard to public participation at commission meetings. Did the legislature intend to make citizens "members" with all the rights and privileges at city/county/state meetings?

 
At Sun Jun 25, 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I'm sorry, Charlie. I just couldn't get through all your diatribe. I kept finding so many inaccuracies, I gave up.

Grapski said:
"The Mayor refused to HEAR what I had to say - and immediately began banging the gavel and speaking over me - and was threatening to have me removed"

Did you go to the podium and state your name?

Grapski said:
"Unbeknown to you, Mr. Calderwood (who I believe is intimately tied to backroom planning of these very staged events),"

Another falsehood perpetuated by you.

Grapski said:

"However, expecting me to attend - and expecting me once again to rise in a point of order - someone in the City contacted TV 20 to be there to film me being arrested for "disrupting" the City meeting. It was a staged event. But it didn't pan out - as I was not there."

Now this is a hoot. I believed that it was you that contacted TV-20 like you (or Canney) have done in the past when you showed up at City Hall demanding to see absentee ballots. Like you (or Canney) contacted the press about your lawsuit when you knew it wouldn't be served on the City. I even asked a friend to ask friends of his at TV-20 to find out who called them. What was staged was Canney being there with his camera to record your interruption. I have never seen him bring one before.

Grapski said:
"Thus it is clear that the City and persons like yourself were very much "setting up" such an opportunity. You also THINK it is "under the rules" (or can be made to look like it) as your wife read, not the entire rules and procedures, but only that detailing what is to be done when someone is "disruptive."

She read that part that gave her the authority to call you out of order. That was proper.

Grapski said:
"For that reason alone he was out of order."

Again untrue. As your premise is false - as there is no such motion to allow citizens to speak."


I am not a lawyer, but then neither are you. There are specific times when public input is called such as motions on the floor, public forums and discussions of actions on the floor after commissioners comments. According to the Florida Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual,"a public meeting of a board or commission must be accessible for public input and participation," subject to the public body's right to adopt rules and regulations for the orderly conduct of such meetings. Howerver, while the right of a person to attend a meeting subject to s. 286.011, F.S. has been acknowledged by the courts of this state, the courts have not expressly addressed the question of the extent to which a citizen must be allowed to speak.
Also, The Florida Municipal Officials' MAnual states,"Although citizens must be allowed to attend all meetings of the public body, there is no requirement that citizens be allowed to participate in these meetings.
Also under Agenda, "Many municipal councils provide a section of their meeting for a "consent agenda". These are items which are considered routine business and which rarely need discussion time in the council meeting. Examples of these items include approval of the minutes, payment of bills, renewal of leases and certain minor proclamations and resolutions".

Grapski said:
"The public can LEGALLY speak (and it is a RIGHT) before ANY substantive legislation is passed by the City. The City attempted - under the claimed auspices of the rules - to deny that right. Thus the public had a right - at that moment - to address the City as to that right."

The Florida Municiple Officials' Manual states,"Although citizens must be allowed to attend all meetings of the public body, there is no requirement that citizens be allowed to participate in these meetings.


After that I got bored with Mr. Grapski's rant. Time to do other more important things like mow the grass.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 02:02:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave,

"Given the history between you and the Alachua Commission, I would want video proof as well."

What exactly is that history? I went to Alachua, observed improprieties, took appropriate legal action, and then sought public records to verify the allegations. The City refused to cooperate under the laws - and began a series of actions to attack me (beginning with an unlawful arrest - for which I have to this date not been charged with a crime).

And I am more than happy to provide the video - as soon as I have a chance to put it up.

"Frankly, it serves both your spin purposes. Everyone can decide for himself the "truth" of what happened."

I have no "spin purpose" - and I will provide the video. It does not serve my purpose at all - which is why your friends (although I realize you believe them to be honest actors and to be telling you the truth) DESIRED to have this done.

"It is no different than police cars having dash-mounted cameras; they know they're going to have a problem so they keep them running all the time. That's not a set-up, that's protecting one's posterior."

The issue is not the cameras. The issue is the USE OF the cameras. The City does not normally use the camers as they did that night. It was indeed a "set up" - as it was attempted to do with the cooperation (unsuspecting perhaps) of TV 20 at the previous meeting. Its very STAGED I can assure you.

"However, let me ask you a sincere question (but please do not give a 15 paragraph response). Your whole case is built on a unique interpretation of FL sunshine laws that gives you the "right" to participate as a "member" of the Alachua Commission. Do you honestly think the people who crafted the sunshine legislation had this in mind or is this just a fortuitous interpretation for you?"

I am not so certain that my interpretation is as "unique" as you think; although I am fairly "unique" in actually demanding that the law be enforced and applied - given the resistance of public officials to comply and enforce it. That is why it is a citizen's right to do so - as it is their right (lawfully established) that is being abriged.

" Whether you were orderly or disorderly depends on the interpretation of the sunshine laws. It, frankly, is the only legal issue before us. Everything else follows."

Dave,

The Sunshine Laws were NOT adopted by public officials. They were adopted BY THE PUBLIC and IMPOSED UPON officials (who resisted them - and to this day have been struggling to undermine them). They were adopted via a Constitutional Amendment. And while they did have the support of SOME public officials - such as Gainesville's Emory "Red" Cross - they were opposed by the legislature and other public officials.

Yes indeed - they intended to create THE PUBLIC as having RIGHTS to PARTICIPATE as active members in the legislative process - and indeed at all stages of the legislative process.

I would direct you, who I know is well versed in International Politics - but are not as familiar with Florida law - to read Chapters 112 (Florida's Ethics Law - particularly on the status and purpose of "public officials"), 119 (The Public Records Law - on the right to the public to ALL documents upon request), and 286 (The Open Meetings Law - and on the rights of the public to PARTICIPATE in the legislative process - not merely to "comment on" the process at a later date).

I do indeed assert that the Sunshine Laws establish a RIGHT of the public to PARTICIPATE in the legislative process of municipal government - and I believe the case law in the State of Florida reinforces that "interpretation" (as does the legislatively enacted INTENT of these laws - which is spelled out fairly clearly in 112).

"You don't have to get into a theoretical discussion about the basis of participatory democracy to answer this question. It is legally immaterial. However, I would like to see your perspective on the intent of the sunshine laws in regard to public participation at commission meetings. Did the legislature intend to make citizens "members" with all the rights and privileges at city/county/state meetings?"

I have not stated that citizens have ALL the rights nad privileges at all of the above meetings.

First, as I have stated, the legislature did not "intend" anything in these laws. The PEOPLE intended it - and enacted it - WITHOUT the legislature, who resisted.

Secondly, the legislature has subsequently drawn a distinction between the State - and County and Municipal practices under this law (unfortunately) - exempting themselves from many of the provisions of the law.

Thirdly, as I have explained here, there are several classes of "members" at a municipal meeting - including elected/voting memebrs, appointed/non-voting members, staff, and members of the public.

All have rights and privileges. But they are not all alike.

I do not assert that a member of the public has a right to DEBATE along side the elected commissioners during that portion of the process.

I DO assert that a member of the public has a RIGHT to give their INPUT into any and every piece of substantive legislation BEFORE it is passed.

I DO assert that placing substantive legislation on the consent agenda is a violation of that right - and of the law.

And I DO assert that the rules of order DO provide a member with a RIGHT to speak - with a process whereby they are to be able to assert and defend that right when violated by the presiding officer.

Its as simple as that.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 03:06:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

OK Charlie,

First, I left the paragraph about the "set up" specifically vague since no one on this blog is going to agree. I do not intend - and beg everyone else - not to revisit what "happened".

I'll do some research on the sunshine laws. I'm still extremely dubious about your interpretation since I have seen no organization or government ever adopt it. Very quickly, though, tell me what "substantive legislation" was contained in the consent agenda.

Also, why don't you seek redress through the state attorney general if you are so convinced of your position? Would that not be the best means of enforcing change on the commission?

 
At Sun Jun 25, 04:07:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Grapski said:
The issue is not the cameras. The issue is the USE OF the cameras. The City does not normally use the camers as they did that night. It was indeed a "set up" - as it was attempted to do with the cooperation (unsuspecting perhaps) of TV 20 at the previous meeting. Its very STAGED I can assure you.

Once again Mr. Grapski is speaking without common knowledge and perpetuating a falsehood that somehow the city was involved with TV-20 coming to Alachua.
Otherwise he would know that nothing was done differently with the cameras that night EXCEPT that he proves my point. That camera is set to show the person speaking at the podium. Since he WASN'T standing at the podium it was necessary to pan the camera to actually show WHO was speaking.

Mr. Grapski said:
You may know how to spay a cat - but you do not know the law.

I may be a lowly veterinarian but I did manage to earn a tenured faculty position at the U of Fl. All that training allowed me to be able to recognize the smell of horse manure.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

No time to answer you now Dave, but I will since your questions deserve answer. I will also answer Mr. Calderwoods errors when I get a chance.

But first, Mr. Calderwood, my reference to your veterinarian status was not a criticism of that as you have mistaken it. I was criticizing your knowledge of the law. I was contrasting it (which is a respect for) with your knowledge of veterinary medicine.

But one can have merits on hand, yet still be criticizable on the other. And one does not make the other any less good or bad. It only makes the situation more complex.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski said:
and 286 (The Open Meetings Law - and on the rights of the public to PARTICIPATE in the legislative process - not merely to "comment on" the process at a later date).

You will have to point me to a specific referrance because I just read that Statute and found no mention of rights of citizens to PARTICIPATE. Please be specific for me.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski said:
I do indeed assert that the Sunshine Laws establish a RIGHT of the public to PARTICIPATE in the legislative process of municipal government - and I believe the case law in the State of Florida reinforces that "interpretation" (as does the legislatively enacted INTENT of these laws - which is spelled out fairly clearly in 112).

Once again, I may not be a lawyer but I read the INTENT of Chap 112 and I get a totally different interpretation of the INTENT. It says,
"(3) It is likewise essential that the people be free to seek redress of their grievances and express their opinions to all government officials on current issues and past or pending legislative and executive actions at every level of government. In order to preserve and maintain the integrity of the governmental process, it is necessary that the identity, expenditures, and activities of those persons who regularly engage in efforts to persuade public officials to take specific actions, either by direct communication with such officials or by solicitation of others to engage in such efforts, be regularly disclosed to the people."
Now I read that as the necessity for full disclosure of conflicts of interest not PARTICIPATION in a commission meeting. Where am I wrong?

 
At Sun Jun 25, 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Passing by again - without time - but these questions, like Dave's above, deserve answers. I will provide them.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a lesson in the Sunshine Law. I believe everyone should learn about it.

I'll be back.

 
At Sun Jun 25, 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

There are two separate legal issue here. First is whether you were entitled to speak when you did. Second is whether any crime was committed.

On the first issue, I spent much of the afternoon reading all the relevant statutes and did not decipher them as supporting your specific claim. There were individual clauses that taken apart might suggest a type of preambular basis for your argument, but when taken as a whole seem unrelated. Hugh's posts stole my thunder on these points.

In fact, it seems that all of the statutes would indicate a judicial avenue of recourse (as I suggested before) rather than an indignant citizen response. Moreover, I read the FL Attorney General's website regarding sunshine laws. It appears that legislators did pass laws back in the 1960s, but a court decision in the early 1990s required the constitutional amendment.

Nevertheless, on the second issue the attorney general's rulings pretty clearly state that for Clovis Watson to be in violation, he would have to be acting as a "liaison" of the Commission members, and that the parties involved would have to have some general decision-making authority. However, Clovis Watson's job description puts him square in the middle of dealing with all the Commission members. He is not acting as a liaison but fulfilling his Charter obligations. Moreover, while he sits at every Commission meeting, he is a non-voting member, meaning he by definition does not have the decision-making authority necessary to constitute a committee needing recorded minutes when he interacts with Commission members. Isn't this one of your main complaints?

 
At Mon Jun 26, 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave,

Sorry, I will have to cut our very productive discussion about the law short.

I believe that this is indeed a propductive process - and wish that your activities of honest and sincere inquiry were reflected by others such as Mr. Calderwood.

However, as Jean Calderwood has now attempted to file a charge of breach of peace against me - in an effort to revoke my bond - as a means of trying to force me into a position where I will make a deal to drop all charges against the city - I can no longer provide legal counsel for the city. They will have to use Marian Rush's legal "skills" to do this from this point.

Meanwhile - I will be seeking charges against Mayor Calderwood.

 
At Mon Jun 26, 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Well, since Mr. Grapski has declined to answer my questions I still am confused.
Mr. Grapski said:

and 286 (The Open Meetings Law - and on the rights of the public to PARTICIPATE in the legislative process - not merely to "comment on" the process at a later date).

The Statute is entitled "Public Business, Misc. Provisions, not Open Meeting Laws and there are no subsections with that title. Where did he get his information? I guess we will never know now.

 
At Mon Jun 26, 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Ward Scott said...

Dave:

It is refreshing to read your orderly mind cut to the point.

Thank you for contributing.

Ward Scott

 
At Mon Jun 26, 01:49:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Ward,

Thanks for the kind words. And more importantly, welcome to the family!
Dave

 
At Mon Jun 26, 02:36:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I have asked Charlie another question on the howardempowered blog. Will I ever get an answer?

 
At Mon Jun 26, 02:47:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Hugh,

My guess is that he's done speaking to us now that there's another pending legal issue for him.

 
At Mon Jun 26, 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Dave,

I also would like to thank you. Mr. Grapski's answers to my questions always had a "rough" edge to them but he was willing to openly discuss with you. Of course he always said I was wrong even though you and I made the same points.

 
At Mon Jun 26, 09:13:00 PM, Blogger ShadowTeaTimeTim in Ohio said...

Good to see politic bullies at work.

 
At Tue Jun 27, 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Hugh,

Thanks again! I think you're right about Charlie's responses, but I think the main difference is that I'm not in the midst of a true political battle with him. The other thing is that there is no need to argue item for item with him. It's too broad a front and muddies the main points. I've been free to focus since it's not me or my wife coming under attack.

To Sahdowteatime, just a question of principle. Why is it acceptable for Charlie to use the court system to incessantly challenge (bully) the city but distasteful when the city responds? It would be one thing if Charlie's case had some prima facie merit. But at what point does it become a public nuisance that needs to be addressed with some warning?

 
At Tue Jun 27, 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave,

While you are correct that I will not provide free legal advise for the City Attorney Marian Rush (who I believe is probably the highest paid, least competent city attorney in the state) - I will respond here to certain things.

The question for you Dave is:

This matter centers on my being arrested by CLovis Watson with the cooperation of Jean Calderwood (by her own admission).

The arrest was under the felony wiretap statute.

The State Attorney has NOT charged me with a crime in this matter.

Yet the State Attorney is letting the City continue its behavior.

This, despite having testimony from the only other witness given to him on the day of the arrest stating that Watson lied to have me arrested.

And this despite having in his possession the recording which PROVES Watson lied.

So - please explain this - as this is the FOUNDATION upon which all of these other legal actions against me are being taken.

To me, it sounds as if someone in the State Attorney's office knows the City and its officials are in a bad spot legally.

And it sounds as if they are trying to manipulate the situation by piling charges against me - to try and get me to "Cut a deal" - and to let public criminals off scott free.

I truly have to question the role - central role - of the State Attorney's Public Relations officer, who happens to be knee deep in Alachua's politics, in all of this. Its a question that should be asked.

Once again - I have not been charged in the original arrest - and the evidence exists to prove my innoncence, and to prove wrongdoing by city officials.

SO why has the State Attorney taken the position he has?

Bill Cervone was the sole Republican I cast a vote for in the last election. I believed he was an honest character. My view of Cervone is currently under serious critical scrutiny. I still believe that it is more likely activities of others inside his office - but he is ultimately responsible for giving them the free reign to engage in these activities.

I believe we have now seen why there is so much political corruption in American politics. The legal/judicial actors FAIL to provide their essential function of holding them to account. They instead pass the buck - claiming this is a "political" issue.

It is not - it is a criminal issue of the highest order.

I will do all in my power - regardless of the cost - to expose this and hold ALL such actors to account.

That is my pledge to the people of Alachua.

 
At Tue Jun 27, 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Oh, and by the way Dave, welcoming Ward "to the fold" is a bit hollow - given that Ward Scott, when he ran last time - and the election was not going to be decided in the primary - attempted to change to run as a Republican but it was too late.

Ward Scott has been closely associated with your party throughout this - well before this staged event.

No one in the Democratic party is fooled by this. I am surpised that anyone in the Republican party would be.

Now, on that note, I am not a supporter of party politics at all. But I find it hard to understand, and hard to understand how rank-and-file Republicans could accept, why the State Republican Party chair (I can understand Stafford being conned into it) would OPENLY EMBRACE someone who is being accused, with ample evidence, of stealing an election - IN FLORIDA! - and has numerous charges against friends he has employed as police officers pending - and is also deeply in two other lawsuits for wrongful actions - against CITY EMPLOYEES - right now.

It seems to me the State Republican party has really taken a risk - that Clovis and the CIty will come out smelling like roses (Don't hold your breath until then, I can assure you they will not) - but what if the allegations turn out to be proven as true?

That means the State Republican Party "elite" (again - the rank and file are not making these decisions) is openly endorsing election fraud and corruption in government.

I think they have really made a serious blunder here. But they have to dig their own graves. I have warned them.

 
At Tue Jun 27, 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

It seems to me that there are a couple of legal issues floating around that could wind up being conflated. The first is your arrest for wiretapping while talking to Clovis Watson (though I understand you consider this to be a part of the broader sunshine law debate). This to me is separate from the other incidents we have recently been discussing on this thread, which include the legality of your participation in the City of Alachua meeting outside of citizen comment periods and the legality of including certain items on the consent agenda.

On your arrest, I cannot respond to your questions about the State attorney's actions since I do not work with it or know anyone in it. However, as to why the state attorney is allowing the city to continue with its practices depends on a couple factors: A) whether the city commissioners are in fact violating the law by using the consent agenda, perhaps making them criminals as you suggest; B) whether the state attorney interprets the statutes as does the majority opinion (I assert it is the majority opinion since others before you would have ceased the practice across the state long ago had there been any doubt among the majority); and/or C) whether the state attorney has evidence aside from those items you mentioned.

Now, this is separate from the legal issue about the consent agenda. I think my previous question to you got lost by the number of threads. I would agree with you whole heartedly that substantive legislation cannot be passed in the consent agenda since it violates the sunshine/public access intent. What specifically has the City of Alachua placed on the consent agenda that constitutes "substantive legislation"? This is a critical question for your claims and one that the public deserves to know, I think.

As for welcoming Ward and Clovis, I don't know Ward personally, I have not seen or met him at any Republican functions, and he said something nice to me. I thought I would reciprocate. However, I do believe in party politics. Now there is one more Republican, one less Democrat, and that's the kind of math I like. If he's always been a Republican under the Democrats' roof, I'm happy he has decided to make the switch and has come home. So I say again, welcome! This goes for any other Democrats who would like to see the county prosper across races and towns.

As for Clovis Watson, correct me if I'm wrong, but all the allegations of impropriety are coming either from you or one of your affiliated groups. If any of your claims stick, then it would certainly redound negatively to the party in some ways. However, why would the Alachua Democrats offer him the "Democrat of the Year" award just a few months ago if he was such a disreputable character? Is it only in the last couple of months that he's become dastardly? The Republicans have taken the bet that the suits against him with be decided in his favor. I guess the coming weeks will determine the wisdom of the choice.

 
At Tue Jun 27, 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I will repeat my opinion that when the courts are finished that the city will not be found guilty of any fraud and the election will stand. Will you, Mr. Grapski, apologize publicly as you said at the rally at city hall?

 
At Tue Jun 27, 02:23:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave,

Don't believe everything you are told. There was never any serious effort for Clovis Watson to be named "Democrat of the Year." That is a fiction. Also Clovis resigned his seat on the DEC a few months back. Problem was - he had no position on the DEC to resign.

Hugh,

Believe what you want. But the City of Alachua has been CAUGHT red-handed in serious improprieties and outright fraud.

The City will be found guilty - I can assure you. Others will likely face personal liability. Although Clovis is more of a pawn than the king or queen - let alone the one moving the pieces - he is certainly facing some serious felony offenses. The same goes for Alan Henderson.

Your wife may or may not be facing felony charges - that depends - but she will certainly be found to have been complicit in wrongdoing. Most significantly, however, she is clearly non-cognizant of the laws or the City's own procedures.

It is a shame. But when you take up a PUBLIC position - you had better be a PUBLIC servant - not a private profiteer. You either work for the public as a whole - or you don't belong there.

Your wife, and these others, have no business in the America that I know. They are what is wrong with this country - and worse - I believe that behind them are people like you.

The time has come to clean up this country. A line in the sand has indeed been drawn.

And I am on the other side from you. There is no doubt about it. We will see where you and your followers end up in the end.

 
At Tue Jun 27, 02:49:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, would you define a "profiteer".

 
At Thu Jun 29, 09:18:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Rod Smith weighs in on the controversy:

I am writing in response to the e-mail you might have received from a Mr. Charles Grapski. In it, Mr. Grapski includes an interview he gave that was posted on a website called "The Raw Story". In the interview Mr. Grapski describes his allegations of voter impropriety in the City of Alachua and events surrounding his recent arrest for illegal recording of the Alachua City Manager. At one point, Mr. Grapski refers to me by stringing together a series of innuendos and inaccurate statements.

Initially, I couldn't recall Charles Grapski. When those who do know him, and in whose opinion I have great trust, reminded me of Mr. Grapski, I was leaning towards not responding at all to his statement. However, it is important for me to allay the concerns of my friends and supporters who are concerned that Mr. Grapski's statements could be perceived as credible.

Specifically, Mr. Grapski alleges that I am associated with those who he claims were involved in tampering with an election in the City of Alachua. Let me by clear on this point: This charge is both baseless and false.

Regarding the issue of development in Alachua - this issue has been vetted by numerous parties, most recently the /Miami Herald/. I did and do favor siting a clean and non-intrusive facility in Alachua that would alleviate the local need for jobs. The Wal-Mart Distribution Center, which is being located next door to an already existing distribution center, had overwhelming local support and was being sited on property that had been zoned for just such a facility for over 20 years. At a public hearing convened to gather public input on the matter, local supporters clearly expressed their desire for these new jobs, which in part replaced those lost by a manufacturing plant that Alachua lost due to outsourcing.

Mr. Grapski's allegations that my 2001 review of Clovis Watson's contract to become City Manager creates a dual officeholding is in error. In fact, I only reviewed Mr. Watson's interim contract and played no part in the final contract which was a result of negotiations between Mr. Watson and the City of Alachua. The agreement did confirm that the police department, as well as all other departments, remains under the direct supervision of the city manager rather than the city commission.

Mr. Grapski also makes the claim that an additional reason the current State Attorney's office does not drop the charges is because of the fear that he will file a false arrest and civil rights suit. Those avenues are available to him regardless of whether Mr. Cervone elects to move forward.

Mr. Grapski also makes the claim that Bonnie Burgess is on the verge of switching parties to Republican. To my knowledge, she is a proud African-American Democrat who is strong in her support for the party and its ideals. Ms. Burgess is the immediate past DEC vice-chair and currently running against Mr. Grapski and others in the Democratic Primary for State House. Since their opponents also include Gainesville City Commissioner Chuck Chestnut (who joins Bonnie and his step-mother Cynthia on my campaign's steering committee in Alachua County), I have taken no position as to that primary. I was saddened to hear that Mr. Watson did indeed switch parties, but regardless of party affiliation I still call him my friend. And, the last time I checked, all but one of the Alachua city commissioners are Democrats.

I hope I have addressed all of the issues raised by Mr. Grapski's letter and put each of your minds to rest. I assume that Mr. Grapski's interview was simply a matter of trying to draw attention to his candidacy and should be viewed entirely in that context.

Sincerely,

Rod Smith

 
At Thu Jun 29, 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Senator Smith,

I see that you correspond with the Republican Executive Committee. Seems maybe that you are the Republican. I don't know where you saw me say that Bonnie Burgess was about to switch. As I do not believe I have said that.

As to your "connections" to what I refer to as the Alachua Mafia (for the moment) - lets just say that I am not the one making the allegations. They are already out there.

I do know that you have been pestered with questions about this issue around the state. I can understand that you are not happy.

However, to claim that ANYTHING I have done in this matter is to further my campaign is to disregard the facts. As this has detracted from my campaign by diverting my time and energy.

But clearly unlike you I am seeking to do the public good - not merely to get elected.

I can assure you, given the fact that you deem it necessary to correspond with Mr. Calderwood, rather than myself - that I will not likely be voting for you.

But I am pleased to see that events have so pestered your campaign that you have seen fit to respond to the Republican's attack blog.

 
At Thu Jun 29, 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Inconsistency in Rod Smith's "response".

Statement 1:
"Specifically, Mr. Grapski alleges that I am associated with those who he claims were involved in tampering with an election in the City of Alachua. Let me by clear on this point: This charge is both baseless and false."

Statement 2:
"I was saddened to hear that Mr. Watson did indeed switch parties, but regardless of party affiliation I still call him my friend.
"

As Clovis Watson is a NAMED DEFENDANT and one of the CENTRAL PLAYERS in what I allege (referred to in statement 1) - then clearly it is NOT "baseless and false" for me to claim that you are "associated with those who [I] claims were involved in tampering with an election ".

So if you want to attack subtly my credibility - let me do so for your credibility openly.

By the way - Clovis Watson did pay you $10,000 to investigate another election in the past did he not - and did you not say that while there were a lot of mistakes made there was no wrongdoing?

Sounds to me like 10 years ago was repeated this year. And this time - we are not relying on you to do the investigation - and I already have ample proof of INTENTIONAL WRONGDOING by your close friends.

Sounds to me like you will have some explaining to do in your defense of these activities.

 
At Thu Jun 29, 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

By the way, Rod, my comment on you in that interview was not to draw attention to my campaign or for any other purpose. I was ASKED A QUESTION about party affiliations in Alachua.

I laid out what I knew. And I did say "you were a player" in the City of Alachua.

And you are - are you not?

That is ALL that I said in that interview. But I do know many of your supporters in South Florida have been asking about you - with OTHERS - and have been finding your connections with Alachua troubling.

This is not my doing. But you will have to answer for your own involvement in politics and business in Alachua.

 
At Thu Jun 29, 11:02:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Oh wait - let me just be clear - Senator Smith.

You did "investigate" an Alachua City election in 1996 did you not? And that election was determined by a handful of absentee ballots was it not?

Why would the investigative file be missing: From the Clerk of the Court's office, the City of Alachua, and the State Attorney's office?

And you have been paid $10,000, by Clovis Watson - who can cut a $10,000 City check WITHOUT Commission approval - to do an investigation, were you not? What was that investigation into and what were the findings?

I just want to make sure I don't mix up the investigations in Alachua you have done.

 
At Fri Jun 30, 06:25:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Well, I guess I have to clear up a misconception of Mr. Grapski. The post from Senator Smith was a cut and paste from Rod's web page. Another conspiracy theory of Mr. Grapski shot down. It is amazing how fast these urban legends get started.
By the way Mr. Grapski, I am not a member of the REC just like the fact that I wasn't Mr. Lewis' campaign manager.

 
At Fri Jun 30, 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Hugh,

1. Sorry - that is not a "conspiracy theory" - you posted it AS IF it were an email to you. OK. So perhaps next time you will learn to CITE your posts from elsewhere.

2. You are a "featured" poster here at the REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE's blog, are you not?

3. You WERE Lewis' campaign TREASURER were you not? And semantics is not really the issue (manager vs. treasurer) - you were actively participating in the RUNNING OF Mr. Lewis' campaign.

As for Rod's website - that is even more interesting that he has posted that there. I guess the issue of Alachua is really pestering him enough that he felt the necessity of posting that there. I, however, am not responsible for that - other than mentioning that Rod was a "player" in Alachua politics. And he is. And he is certainly not a neutral player when it comes to the "growth" issues - as he is also a personal beneficiary given his family property.

 
At Fri Jun 30, 08:18:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Symantics being what they are I would have said, I received this from Rod Smith....

You seem to be a "featured" poster so one could say that you are the REC if signing your real name is a criteria. This site is run by the Alachua Republican Party. I am a Republican but I am not a member of the REC.

Since you are reading this thread, how about defining a "profiteer" like I asked. Actually I asked several queations that you have failed to answer. We know that you like to opine.

 
At Fri Jun 30, 09:12:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I would suggest that Mr. Grapski do better investigations and not rely on "facts" (sic) told to him by the lunatic fringe in Alachua.
To wit:
"By the way - Clovis Watson did pay you $10,000 to investigate another election in the past did he not - and did you not say that while there were a lot of mistakes made there was no wrongdoing?

Sounds to me like 10 years ago was repeated this year. And this time - we are not relying on you to do the investigation - and I already have ample proof of INTENTIONAL WRONGDOING by your close friends."


Mr. Watson and FOP President McAdams agreed to have Senator Smith conduct a study of moral problems and ticket quota allegations in the Alachua police dept. This had nothing to do with any election. His findings were that there was no quota involved and that moral was very low due to certain individuals who were causing turmoil.
Mr. Grapski, slow down and smell the roses. It might be better for your stress levels.

 
At Fri Jun 30, 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

That's morale

 
At Sat Jul 01, 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

I suggest Mr. Calderwood read ALL of my posts - before jumping up and screaming - "lookie here ... we got him ... he made a mistake."

As you will see - I realized I conflated the two cases - and in a few minutes posted another one:

In that post I did state that there were TWO distinct investigations mentioned in that post you quote.

One for Rod's investigation into APD. Doesn't seem - given the corruption in APD coming out in droves today - that Rod did a very good job investigating his "very good friend" now does it. That was the investigation Clovis cut a $10,000 check for without City Commission approval - because in the City of Alachua Clovis can write up to $10,000 in checks if he deems fit.

But then there was also the 1996 Rod Smith of a stolen election decided with a handful of absentee ballots (sound familiar).

I believe Mr. Calderwood, you openly stated that that investigation never occurred.

I guess the Court record was planted by some "wacko liberal" wasn't it.

Perhaps you would like to read the judge's ruling on that one.

 
At Sat Jul 01, 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

I would also suggest, when you see CLovis Watson and Jeff McAdams team up (both with close ties to Ward Scott - who never really was a Democrat other than believing he could only run and win as a Democrat in Alachua County ... that was until there was going to be a general election - then he tried to jump into the Republican primary, but too late. I also like today's letter to the editor about Ward's next run against Byerly - sounds to me like Ward has been outed once again).

But back to my main point:

If Clovis Watson and Jeff McAdams initiated an "investigation" into APD activities - I would tend to highly suspect a whitewash/cover-up.

Given that Clovis then cut a $10,000 check to Rod Smith - which he can do on his own - tends to suggest that they believe (and Rod claims to be good personal friends) that Rod would produce a "good" investigation for their investment.

Doesn't give me too much faith in Rod Smith. But I am truly curious, Mr. Calderwood, why the Republican Party is so interested in Rod Smith's gubenatorial campaign. Are you supporting Mr. Smith - and is it because you expect that Alachua will "profit" from his term in office, should he win?

I have no real views of Rod Smith. Not an ideal candidate by any sense of the term. But certainly far better than Jeb!

However, is connection to - and more importantly embracing of - the corrupt practices of you wife and the rest of the City Commission - seriously call into doubt Rod's credibility.

 
At Sat Jul 01, 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Here is a fact that you can take to the bank...there was no stolen election decided with a handful of absentee ballots in 1996. In fact there was never a stolen election decided by absentee ballots in Alachua since I have lived here.

I have been a personal friend of Rod Smith long before he held any elected office. I am a moderate Republican, not a Party man. I vote for the candidate, not the Party. I don't speak for the RP. I am not a member of the REC.

When are you going to answer my question of your definition of a "profiteer"????

 
At Sat Jul 01, 05:26:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood,

Your ignorance of the facts is no excuse for your arrogance.

There was an election contest of a 1996 election in the City of Alachua. It was an election decided by a handful of absentee votes.

It was an election which Rod Smith "investigated".

It was an election which the Court ruled upon - and warned that FUTURE activities of that nature would not be treated as lightly.

Learn the facts, Mr. Calderwood. Learn the facts. (And I suggest you urge your wife to learn the law - as well as the Rules and Procedures of the City. We have posted them online if she would like to become familiar with them. Perhaps Marion Rush could spare some of her half-million dollar City Attorney time to read them too).

Seriously, can someone please justify the amount of money the City of Alachua pays its City Manager and its City Attorney - particularly since neither have the qualifications for the job and both are paid more than their counterparts in all other cities?

And no - its not the ALA that costs the City money - its the corruption in the City which pays an attorney an hourly wage rather than a salary. And a City which constantly breaks the law.

 
At Sat Jul 01, 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

"Several technical violations of the election laws appear to have been committed in the city of Alachua election of April 11,1995, No evidence suggests, however, that the violations were deliberately practiced in order to secure an unfair or unlawful gain or advantage. Furthermore, there is no indication of any intentional deprivation of anyone's rights.

The apparent technical violations resulted in a total number of 19 ballots being counted that did not strictly comply with absentee ballot requirements. Of those ballots, only 5 clearly should have been excluded. However, even if all 19 ballots were discounted, the results of the election would not change.
Although the election was not technically perfect, the will of the people was accomplished."

The same will be said of the Grapski lawsuit.

 
At Sat Jul 01, 07:02:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski said:

It was an election which the Court ruled upon - and warned that FUTURE activities of that nature would not be treated as lightly.

The Court said:

"In future elections, the city of Alachua should be careful not to repeat the mistakes made in this election. To allow such mistakes to routinely occur opens the door to possible fraud and corruption of the ballots".

Eleven years without a problem is hardly "routine". The problems in 1995 were different then any accusations made by Mr. Grapski. There was no fraud as Mr. Grapski will find out and the election will stand.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

When are you going to answer my question of your definition of a "profiteer"????

 
At Sun Jul 02, 08:24:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Well now Mr. Calderwood,

THis is incredible. 1) How did you get this information so quickly - and over the weekend? 2) I thought you said I made that up.

I guess you were WRONG were you not?

As for eleven years without a problem - that is your claim. But then again - for several of those years the elections were run by Colin Whitworth - and having spoken to Colin about his running of the elections - I know that he, unlike Alan Henderson, followed the letter of the law.

You can keep on dreaming about this election. The fact of the matter is - there were gross improprieties in this election - and no - you don't have Rod Smith to investigate this one.

I and others have investigated this election - the City has tried to prevent that investigation (which was why I was arrested ... which, by the way, can you please explain how I was arrested, not charged (to this day), for "unlawful interception of oral communications" when - forgetting that public officials engaged in public business are public servants and the public has a right to know what they are doing - Clovis Watson stated "I SEE that you are recording me, I have NO PROBLEM WITH THAT" - and how that becomes a "secret" recording "without his consent."

I know, by her own admission, that your wife was involved over that weekend in arranging to have me arrested. Were you consulted on this matter?

As for defining "profiteer" - go look it up.

I find it ironic that you want me to answer questions - when you have not answered far more.

And particularly when on one day you tell the world I made up the election challenge from a decade ago - and now you cite verbatim from the judge's ruling.

Can you cite from Rod Smith's investigation for us. That would be enlightening.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 08:31:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood,

Clovis Watson has admitted, to me - in front of Stafford Jones and Mr. Goston - that what I have alleged happened with a particular woman (he stated her name - even though I have never publicly used it - which indicates clearly he knows what incident we are referring to) - that what took place DID take place.

Clovis Watson was within a few feet of the "polling location."

Clovis Watson was "on duty" as City Manager.

Clovis Watson was also "on duty" as City Police Commissioner.

Clovis Watson was also "on duty" as City sworn police officer.

Clovis Watson was a member of the Canvassing Board - and had a duty to remain neutral in his PUBLIC duties in regard to the election.

Clovis Watson DID influence a voter in how to vote - under those conditions. Clovis Watson DID admit to telling her to vote for James Lewis.

Without going any further - can you explain how that is NOT illegal under Florida Law?

Can you then explain Mr. Henderson's behavior?

Can you explain where in the law it allows Henderson to destroy a ballot?

Can you explain where in the law Henderson is allowed to give a voter a second ballot and "re-vote"?

Can you explain any of this?

If you can explain this - maybe we can understand how "certain" you are that the City did nothing wrong in this election.

Oh, by the way, was your wife not actively supporting James Lewis? Why did she not step down - and let someone else replace her that was not so active in the campaign - from her position as the chair of the Canvassing Board.

Could you also let us know how familiar your wife made herself with the Florida election statutes before she acted as Chair of the Canvassing Board.

Or how about how familiar you wife is with the Rules and Procedures of the City.

Or how about how familiar your wife is with Roberts Rules of Order.

It seems to me she has sworn an oath to perform her job - which requires her more than mere familiarity with these laws and rules - but has been, at minimal, grossly negligent in the performance of her duties.

But then again - "you get things done" in the City of Alachua - as Clovis Watson was once quoted as saying - even if you don't actually follow the laws.

WHat matters to you, it seems, is the outcome - not the process.

And as long as ALachua is "open for business" (for those "outsiders" that you seem to deem as welcome, unlike others who are actual citizens) - you seem to think the law is but a nuisance.

That is where we differ, Mr. Calderwood.

I do not tolerate public officials who break the law in their public actions.

You embrace them.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 08:37:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

The difference between the decade ago election - in which Rod Smith convinced the Court that, despite the gross negligence of City officials in performing their duties in the election - there was no "intentional wrongdoing" - no "fraud."

This is a neat little legal trick. And Rod performed his duties well for the City - although unfortunately he neglected his actual duties which were to the people and the law.

But that was ten years ago - and this is today - and Rod is not available for you to shelter the City of Alachua.

In this case - not only do we have the ability to prove that more than 18 votes were corrupted - but we have ample evidence of outright corruption.

And while it is not the first time this has occurred in the City of Alachua - it will be, this time, proven for all to see.

Again, Mr. Calderwood, please explain the activities of Mr. Watson and Mr. Henderson on the two days prior to the election. What were they doing actively seeking to get people to cast ballots at City Hall? Why did they choose not to follow Florida's statutes?

And again, Mr. Calderwood, with you as the "treasurer" of the Lewis campaign - and your wife as an active supporter - can you please tell us how she was NOT negligent in her duties by remaining as the chair of the Canvassing Board - which has a presumption of neutrality?

I am truly awaiting enlightenment from your answers.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Contrary to your opinion I was not wrong. It is you who is sloppy in your mudslinging. You said the lawsuit was in 1996. Wrong, it was 1995. You might think that that is a minor mistake on your part but then that is how you act. Making major accusations on minor mistakes.

You said that the election was stolen on the absentee ballots but the Court found that the results would have stood even if all 19 ballots were thrown out. You were wrong again.

You say that you are not attacking Rod Smith but it sure looks like you are claiming that Rod acted outside his sworn duty to the office of State Attorney. I would sure hate to see what you would say if you were attacking him.

As to your questions that involve your lawsuit, they will be answered where they count, not on this blog.

PS- Where did I find out the Court ruling? Easy, the same place anyone can, public records. Facts win out over accusations and sloppy bloviating.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 10:31:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Definition of profiteer-

Main Entry: prof·i·teer
Pronunciation: "prä-f&-'tir
Function: noun
: one who makes what is considered an unreasonable profit especially on the sale of essential goods during times of emergency

Definition of profit-

Main Entry: 1prof•it
Pronunciation: 'prä-f&t
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin profectus advance, profit, from proficere
1 : a valuable return : GAIN
2 : the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions; especially : the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
3 : net income usually for a given period of time
4 : the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales
5 : the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent


So since you won't give your definition, we must assume that you are claiming that my wife and I have been compensated in goods or money for our service to our community. A gross falsehood.

 
At Sun Jul 02, 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Oh Mr. Calderwood. Are you really going to think you have scored some victory by claiming I made a false statement saying that an election in 1996 was contested when the election was in 1995?

OK then. You beat me. I can't compete on your level. You are just too good for me.

 
At Mon Jul 03, 09:06:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

You also seem fixated on this "profit" motive issue Mr. Calderwood.

My criticisms of you and your wife are very simple. My criticisms of the whole Alachua cabal are also very simple. The Alachua cabal is "Robbin' the Hood" - stealing from the poor to give to the rich. Instead of Robin Hood doing the opposite - the Sheriff of Nottingham (in this case - that character represents the City Commission plus the APD) uses public authority and public power to take the collective resources of the community then REDISTRIBUTES it to large corporations (mostly outsiders) to bring them into Alachua. Yes, a FEW Alachua residents make some of the profit in return - for example the Lewises and Cains of the world have the property that gets developed - others profit in other ways. But mostly you "sell" a lemon to the people and tell them it is gold. You, sir, seem to have a real psychological issue - as you constantly "reflect" your own guilt in your attacks on others - thus you call me a snake oil salesman!!

The City of Alachua, where poor African Americans are paying $300-$400 a month in utility bills (the CIty of Alachua purchases utilities from GRU - but then ADDS charges on top of that to fund its "growth and development" programs - i.e. paving a "driveway" for WalMart that will mean that the other big (out of town) businesses will get a FREE paved road - not to mention all the other taxpayer funded amenities you have provided them - all in return for LOW WAGE jobs and an employer who will guarantee they are locked into those low-waged jobs the rest of their life - because they will never be able to open a locally-owned business once these giants are in town. Then you have the taxpayers paying for a Gainesville bus route - to go from the poor section of Gainesville and bus in (from out of town) workers directly to WalMart. Oh - you claim it will benefit those in Alachua without cars - because they can go to AGH - yes - if they want to get on the bus in the AM and come back in the PM - during the scheduled WORK SHIFT rides that are all that will be provided.

You then cry fowl when members of the PUBLIC - who may not reside in the CIty Limits - dare come and criticize (hey - its their tax payer money too) - the funding of OUT-OF-TOWN businesses to come and drain off our wealth and resources.

You claim this is pro-jobs. Its not. Its pro-profit for large corporate, out-of-towners - but their PROFITS are made - because of PUBLIC SUBSIDIES which pay for their infrastructure.

I am sure that the amount of money you and your wife have helped take from the people of Alachua (and the State of Florida) could have been used much more wisely to INVEST in the community itself (and its people).

Far more locally owned businesses could thrive if they got the tax breaks and infrastructure of a business handed to them - and that would benefit these folks far more than your friends from Bentonville, Arkansas.

And don't worry - the history of your words - and your wife's (before she was mayor) - will be placed upon the Alachua Project's historical archive for all to see. You spew hatred and are well known for making up charges and putting them out publicly to condemn those who are your "political" opponents.

You are correct - FACTS are the key. And I believe that when the FACTS are there for all to see - you will be exposed for what you are. And I do not like personally attacking individuals. I admire and respect anyone whose profession was a veterinarian. Although I have to really wonder what kind of a vet you were - when I see what kind of public actor you are. But putting the facts out there and debating them is not a personal attack. I am criticizing what you and your wife and others in your cabal have been doing as PUBLIC actors. And I will continue to do so. I also believe that the FACTS will show that while I am not a perfect individual in private life (few are) - I strive my best to act as best I can in my public life - to seek the PUBLIC good rather than my own personal profit. I cannot say the same for you.

 
At Mon Jul 03, 09:07:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I know that you will never understand this and I know that those in our community will.

We strive our best to act as best we can in our public life - to seek the PUBLIC good rather than our own personal profit which to date is zero.

On the other hand if profit to you is seeing the faces of those who we have helped. Those whose houses have been rehabed. Those like Pat's friend's sister who has a good job with benefits. Those whose tax rates haven't gone up. Those who enjoy the finest rec dept in the county. Those who thank us on a daily basis for living in a Good Life Community. That is our "profit" and all we ask for while having to put up with the likes of you.

 
At Tue Jul 04, 09:09:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Hugh, you may believe you are a fine and upstanding citizen. You may believe you have done all this for the public good.

If you do - then I would argue that you are delusional and should critically evaluate both your ends AND your means.

In particular the latter - because even if you sincerely believe what you are doing is for the public good - you are willing to get there by breaking the law.

Funny, your wife actually read from the municipal handbook last night thinking it was a DEFENSE of her abuse of the consent agenda. Yet what she read was EXACTLY what I have argued all along. That consent agendas are ONLY to be used for "routine" and "minor" items that are not legislative in nature nor that are controversial.

If the City wanted to pass a proclamation saying that on Secretary's day they applaud the work of all of the City's secretarial staff - that would be perfectly legitimate for a consent agenda.

If the City wanted to pass a proclamation saying that they supported George Bush's wiretap policy - that would not be legitimate for a consent agenda, even if all five commissioners were ready to give their consent, because it is not "routine" and is not "non-controversial."

But if the City wants to pass a $1 million tax-payer funded driveway for the Wal-Mart distribution center - which is also being tailored so that the tax-payers will fund the infrastructure for a number of other out of town businesses to come and set up shop (while the people pay for their business expenses) - that is not permitted on a consent agenda - not just because it is controversial - but because it is substantive legislation.

You and your wife and others in the City government have ABUSED the public authority to get what you aim at - whether or not you believe it is in the public good.

I would challenge that belief - but that is not the point. THe point is not a policy debate. The point is a legal debate about how government is being run in Alachua and how it is SUPPOSED to be run.

That is the point which you don't seem to comprehend.

The ends do not justify the means.

Your pal Clovis Watson once said - and was quoted as saying - that the City of Alachua may not follow the laws strictly (and may not know what the laws are) - but "they get things done."

That seems to be quite OK for you Mr. Calderwood. Its not OK for me.

 
At Tue Jul 04, 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

For someone who your friends think is so brillant you can't read. The RESOLUTION on the agenda did not pass a $1M road. That was done two years ago with more public meetings then called for. If you would have read the RESOLUTION it only confirmed what the City had ALREADY committed itself to which was the maintence of the road. That is not a significant legislation nor controversal. Accepting the grant was controversal but that was two years ago and not done by RESOLUTION. Get your FACTS straight.

 

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